Indian women swim Maana Patel participation in the Tokyo Olympics was confirmed in ‘universality quota’, the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) said. Maana will participate in the 100m backstroke in the Tokyo Games and is the third qualified Indian swimmer after both Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash achieved Olympic Qualifying Distribution (OQT) ‘A’ level recently. The universality quota allows one male and one female competitor from a country to participate in the Olympics, provide no other swim from the same sex to qualify for the games or receive a FINA guest based on his Olympic selection time ( tan B).
Tomorrow at Olympics.com. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve heard of the Olympics from fellow swimmers and watched it on TV and saw a lot of pictures.”
“But to be there this time, compete with the best in the world, just give me geese,” he added.
The 21-year-old sustained an ankle injury in 2019 and only made a comeback earlier this year.
“It was a difficult year to return after the injury,” Maana admitted.
“Though the pandemic and the blockade were a blessing in disguise as it helped me recover well, but then later the frustration crept in. I am not used to staying away from the water for this long,” he said .
Her first event of the year was the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships in April, where she clocked 1: 04.47 seconds for the gold medal in the 100m backstroke.
“I was happy with my timing in Uzbekistan. Nothing big. But getting back into competitive racing and managing 1:04 was good. I knew I was on the right track,” he said.
He has recently participated in events in Serbia and Italy as a tune up for the Tokyo Games. At the Belgrade event, he improved his national mark in the back 100m.
“One thing that I was sure of was that I wanted to make the most of every opportunity. I had my schedule organized. My consumption was controlled. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” Maana said.
He added: “I fired 1:03 in Belgrade, the target is to go 1:02 or lower in Tokyo.”
With universality quotas that don’t even qualify brand ‘B’, Maana knows that Olympics for her is more about gaining experience.
“I’m not looking for much here, just the experience of swimming at the Olympics. The 2023 season is an important year for us. I see the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games as a real opportunity for a podium finish,” Maana estimated.
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